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Profits down as Vatican bank publishes 2015 annual report

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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Continuing its reform and efforts to promote financial transparency, the Vatican bank published its annual report for the 2015 fiscal year.

The Institute for the Works of Religion, as the bank is formally known, released the report on 12 May and presented the document during a round-table event with Vatican Radio and L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.

The bank’s net profit for 2015 was 16.1 million euros ($25 million) compared to 2014 net profits of 69.3 million euros ($108 million at last year’s exchange rate).

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Gian Franco Mammi, director general of the bank, said that although the document reports a lower profit than the previous year, 2015 “has been compatibly profitable, considering the objective difficulties of the market, its volatility and the crises that have occurred, such as Greece”.

“We can say that, for our part, however, efficient and dignified work has been done,” he said. “This year’s profit is compatible with the economic and political scenario of the time, and also considering that we have just finished an important transition phase.”

In his introduction to the report, Mons Battista Ricca, prelate of the institute, stressed that “the IOR is not, and must not become, a for-profit institution, much less a simple money-making machine; it is, rather, a canonical foundation called to promote works of religion”.

“In that sense, just as our Holy Father is a servant of servants, so it is my sincere hope that our institute will continue to aspire to mirror in its work the notion of helping others do their good works in the world more effectively,” he wrote.

In a press release published on 12 May, the institute – also known by its Italian acronym IOR – highlighted the adoption of several regulatory frameworks that include anti-money laundering measures, “Know Your Customer” protocols and a remediation process to address “past tax uncertainties and the strengthening of IOR’s governance and control functions”.

The remediation process led to the closing of 4935 accounts between June 2013 and December 2015, it said. “Procedures in place are diligently applied to all new customer and related activities,” the report stated.

As of 31 December, it said, the IOR had 14,801 clients with assets of 5.8 billion euros ($9.04 billion) at the institute.

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